How to stay lean while bulking up

Written by patricia k. maggio
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How to stay lean while bulking up
To gain muscle mass without getting fat, follow a strict diet and exercise regime. (making exercise image by IKO from

Bulking up is a complicated balance between diet and exercise, especially if you want to stay lean. There is more to becoming big and strong than carbo-loading and protein shakes. Staying lean while building muscle requires hard work and dedication to your workout plan and your health. Before beginning a new fitness routine, it is best to consult a doctor or nutritionist to determine the best diet and exercise program for you.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Follow a strict but healthy diet. Just because you are trying to gain weight does not mean you should eat any and all calories within reach. Make sure you are eating "good" carbs like wheat bread and pasta, and eggs and peanut butter for protein; as for meat, eat only lean white meats like chicken, turkey and fish. Eat foods that will help you make it through your workout routine.

  2. 2

    Eat often. Keep your diet to about five or six small meals a day. Eating large meals spaced throughout the day causes the metabolism to slow down; to bulk up without gaining fat, you need to keep your body in a constant state of fat-burning.

  3. 3

    Organise a well-rounded workout program. Your fitness plan should include lots of weightlifting and resistance training. Never target the same muscle group two workouts in a row, as muscles grow during rest, not during activity. Muscles need time to rebuild after your workout, so don't overdo it.

  4. 4

    Perform a wide variety of exercises for each muscle group. To stay lean while building muscle mass, do many repetitions with lighter weights. Also, do cardio at the end of your workout for about 30 minutes. Anything longer than 30 minutes will further fatigue muscles and keep you from building mass.

  5. 5

    Use safe and appropriate vitamins and supplements. Don't buy store-bought shakes, as the quality of their ingredients generally isn't very good. Make your own protein shakes at home using water, frozen berries, peanut butter, protein powder and low-fat milk. Drink the shake at the end of your workout to encourage the body to keep burning fat.

  6. 6

    Drink lots of water. Stay hydrated before, during and after your workout to help muscles grow. It is advisable to drink about 591ml of water two hours before you start your workout. Water also helps aid digestion, which further averts gaining fat.

Tips and warnings

  • Consult your physician before beginning any weight-loss or diet plan.

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